Vaccinating Your Pets

Pet vaccinations are an important part of your dog's or cat's healthcare. These vaccinations help to protect your pet from many diseases.

Dog Vaccinations

Rabies: The rabies virus attacks the brain and central nervous system of your dog. This disease is transmitted to humans primarily through a bite or scratch of an infected animal. Once rabies symptoms manifest, it is always fatal. Most state's law require that you vaccinate your dog against rabies.

Vaccinations for rabies should be given initially at 12-13 weeks of age. The initial dose is good for one year. Booster dose is good for three years.

Canine Distemper: This is a serious, often fatal infection that is spread by a virus. Symptoms of distemper in an infected dog are coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs can also present with seizures. Distemper can be contracted when a dog comes into direct contact with a sick dog or with an environment contaminated by that dog.

All dogs should be vaccinated against distemper at six weeks of age followed with another dose at nine weeks of age and then again at twelve to thirteen weeks of age. Once the series is completed, an annual dose should be given.

Canine Infectious Hepatitis: This is a viral disease of the liver. It is transmitted in the urine or nasal/eye secretions of infected animals. This virus can cause severe, permanent damage to your dog's liver.

Canine Parvovirus: This is another viral disease which is highly contagious, and easily spread in dogs not vaccinated. This disease is a serious or even fatal disease especially in puppies. Symptoms are vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and severe dehydration. This virus can remain active in the environment for years.

Vaccinations should begin at six weeks of age, then re-vaccinate at nine weeks of age and again at twelve to thirteen weeks of age. Again a yearly vaccination should be given for the duration of your pet's life.

Canine Parainfluenza: This is an upper respiratory infection in dogs which is highly contagious. This can be spread through the air to your pet. Symptoms include coughing and sneezing.

The vaccination schedule should be the first vaccination given at six weeks of age, again at nine weeks of age and repeat again at twelve to thirteen weeks of age with a yearly booster vaccination.

The DA2PP combination vaccination protects dogs against canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza.

Bordetalla: This is commonly referred to as kennel cough. This, too, is highly contagious, like parainfluenza, and is spread through the air. Because this infection is most common in dogs that are around many other dogs, the vaccination is required for kennel boarding, doggy day care and dogs that visit dog parks.

Cat Vaccinations

Feline Panleukopenia: This is also known as feline distemper. This disease is transmitted by a virus and is highly contagious and can be serious and often fatal in cats that are not vaccinated, especially kittens. Symptoms include vomiting, dehydration, weakness and poor appetite.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: This is an upper respiratory infection caused by a feline herpesvirus with symptoms of sneezing with an eye and nasal discharge. Once infected , cats usually carry this herpes virus for the rest of their lives. Stress and weather changes may bring on active symptoms.

Feline Calicivirus: This is a common, highly contagious upper respiratory infection found in cats. Symptoms include sneezing and eye discharge. Some cats may present with painful ulcers on their tongue and in the back of their throat.

The FVRP vaccination, commonly called the “distemper shot”, protects cats against panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline herpesvirus and calicivirus and is recommended for all cats.